Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

Willcox, Arizona “Where the Spirit of the West Begins”

Dragoon Mountain Valley

Dragoon Mountain Valley

After a long, slow trip through the mountains, the town of Willcox, Arizona seemed like an oasis in the desert. Situated in a valley surrounded by the Dragoon Mountains, Willcox is the perfect place to stretch your legs on a walk through their beautiful town and even give yourself a tasty treat.

The town has been around since 1880, but at that time it was known as Maley, a whistlestop for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was named Willcox years later after General Orlando Willcox, who arrived on the first train to stop there. Today that railroad heritage plays a big role in the town’s celebrations.

Rex Allen Museum

Rex Allen Museum on Railroad Street

The town is especially famous for country western signer, Rex Allen, whose statue and museum are highlights there. Rex Allen really was a cowboy, and became the last of the singing cowboys of movie fame. The Rex Allen “Arizona Cowboy” Museum holds memorabilia of  his rodeo, record, movie and television activities. This hero of the wildwest always wore a white Stetson hat while joking around with his sidekick played by Buddy Ebsen and later Slim Pickens. The Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame is also located inside the museum.

Rex Allen Statue

Rex Allen Statue

Rex Allen’s statue across the road has hidden meaning. Inside that statue is a bronze heart complete with arteries symbolizing that Rex Allen’s heart will always remain in the Willcox area. At the foot of his statue, the ashes of Rex’s horse, Koko, are buried, while Rex’s ashes were scattered around the base of the statue. Koko was billed as “the most beautiful horse in the world” after appearing in 30 movies with Rex Allen. They traveled together over a half million miles in the US and Canada. So it is fitting that Koko rest nearby in the green grass of Horse Heaven.

Stop by Willcox Commercial, the oldest continually operating store in Arizona. Having been in operation since 1880, one of its earlier customers was Geronima, who had a sweet tooth and often stopped by for a pound of sugar. Rex Allen and Tanya Tucker, who also grew up in Willcox, shopped here as well.

Old Chestnut Tree in Park

Old Chinese Elm Tree in Railroad Park

Two giant Chinese Elm trees stand in the vicinity of Rex Allen’s statue. These trees were planted back in 1928 when dirt was brought in to fill in a spot where water gathered every time it rained. They became the center piece of Willcox’s first city park – now called Railroad Park. A friend in New Mexico uses this small park area as a relaxation stop in their travels. Sitting under one of these giant trees while peering up through their branches at the great open sky, gives one a peaceful feeling.

Motherload Antiques and Espresso

Motherlode Antiques and Espresso

Down the street is an interesting Motherlode Antique Shop with Espresso and many fine treats. This was the perfect place to sit out on the porch and visit with the locals while enjoying ice cream and cookies.  Right next door is The Dining Car where you can get some delicious Big Tex BBQ. Everyone was very friendly and offered suggestions of places to visit in the area…and no one seemed in a hurry.

Roses line City Hall on Railroad Street

Roses line City Hall on Railroad Street

The Willcox Town Hall, a former Southern Pacific Railroad Station, features a block long row of beautiful rosebushes that make a stroll along Railroad Avenue a scenic, scented adventure. This is a great place to take a walk after that delicious ice cream cone.  In Willcox, you definitely want to take time to smell the roses.

Willcox is located in southeastern Arizona just off I-10 between Bowie and Benson. Take the West Airport Exit and enjoy the spirit of the west that still exists there today.


Casinos and Ancient Petroglyphs Make an Unusual Combination in Laughlin, Nevada

Colorado Belle CasinoMountains on the river…a spot to relax! On the banks of the beautiful Colorado River at the very southern tip of Nevada sits a lovely little town called Laughlin. Casinos are the main business in town, so many visitors try their luck at the slots or gaming tables. The Colorado Belle Casino, a 600′ replica of a 19th century Mississippi paddle-wheel riverboat, is certain to catch everyone’s attention.  However, gambling isn’t necessary to enjoy a stay in Laughlin.

When Don Laughlin, for whom the town is named, purchased the land in 1964, he opened a small casino, Riverside Resort, which had just twelve slot machines and two gaming tables. On the other side of the river in Arizona, the town of Bullhead City ran shuttle boats to the casinos as the number of them grew in Laughlin. Finally, in 1987 Don Laughlin himself provided the $3.5 million needed to build a bridge to span the river between the towns. Then business really picked up. Today, this little town is a popular gaming destination and family vacation center since it is located on the banks of the river with desert and mountains in view.  The casino strip isn’t very long with ten major casinos, but it has all the glitter of Las Vegas. The actual town of Laughlin is situated on the other side of the mountains, away from the casino activity.

Ramada ExpressA stay at the Ramada Express, now the Tropicana Express, was always a pleasant experience. Express being its name, trains were its theme, having a pool shaped like a locomotive – with a spa in the wheel, and a train that ran around the entire hotel with several stops for less walking. Their patriotic museum honored all veterans from WWII through Desert Storm and regularly showed a four, large screen tribute, “On the Wings of Eagles.”

A stop at the little Colorado River Museum displayed information about the growth of the surrounding area. An evening ride down the Colorado River on the Celebration riverboat became a shimmering experience as the lights of Laughlin casinos reflected off the water. The captain was full of information about the river’s edge and talked a hundred miles an hour.  If riverboats are not to your liking, enjoy the river’s edge on a beautiful boardwalk that is a relaxing stroll day and night.

Debbie Reynolds at RiversideNo stay in a casino town would be complete without heading to at least one show. Debbie Reynolds, a star I admired as a child, was performing at Don Laughlin’s Riverside so decided to see if I could get a ticket.  As luck would have it, they had one seat available, and it was in the front row! Afterwards, I went backstage and got an autograph and picture with Ms Reynolds.

But the Laughlin area was more than casinos.  Accessed by a well maintained dirt road, nearby Spirit Mountain took one on a walk into the past. Petroglyphs on the mountain walls and rocks gave a glimpse into the Indian heritage that ePetroglyphs near Laughlinxisted in this area many years ago.  This remote granite mountain gave one a sense of tranquility, perhaps because the ancestors of the Indians reside there to this day.

Only seven miles west of Laughlin in Christmas Tree Pass, visitors will find over 700 petroglyphs. Estimates on the original time of the glyphs have been placed from 1100-1500 AD at a time when the Mojave Indians roamed this area. While their meaning is not positively known, one possibility is that they tell the Mojave story of how the Colorado River came into existence. This is one of those places where a bottle of water and a sunhat are recommended as temperatures in the summer soar to 120 degrees.

Christmas Tree PassA long desert-mountain walk in the Indian petroglyphs concluded this week’s stay in Laughlin.  Never had I seen so many glyphs in one place, especially at the entrance of the Christmas Tree Pass. Farther up the mountainside, you could see what appeared to be the outline of an old Indian village.  Return trip expected for further exploration!

Laughlin, Nevada can be reached from I-40 taking Exit 141 to 95 North, the Needles Highway, for 23 miles. Turn right onto Bruce Woodbury Drive and after about 3 miles turn right on Casino Drive. Visitors will be greeted by Riverside Resort and the Casino Strip.

Biosphere 2 – Earth Under Glass

Biosphere 2Want to see a rainforest and ocean in the desert? Time to  head to the barren desert hills of Arizona, or should I say mountains! Located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Oracle, Arizona, Biosphere 2‘s striking white outline and unusually shaped, futuristic buildings catch the eye. Recently named one of the top fifty “Wonders of the World”, which must be seen, this is an informative stop.

Biosphere is defined as: the regions of the Earth’s crust and atmosphere occupied by living matter. Therefore, it seemed fitting to name this man-made earth model Biosphere 2. Here is the world’s largest glass covered ecological laboratory located on forty acres. Back in 1984, Edward Bass, an environmentalist, contributed $150 million to build John Allen’s invention – Biosphere 2.

Originally built to experiment with self-contained settlement, those first eight ecologists, four men and four women,  signed up for a two year term, then sealed themselves away.  They began raising their own food and recycling air and water. Their goal was to be able to sustain all their needs from the five different ecological regions that were located inside the domes. These early designers were interested in space colonization and were looking for a way to build a similar system on Mars or perhaps the Moon.

The experiment, however, basically failed after almost two years due to the build up of noxious gases, and lack of oxygen.  While some of the four thousand species survived,  water and crops failed. However, much was learned scientifically as well as socially where disagreements caused lack of co-operation.  Columbia University operated it up until just recently, but today it is maintained and used for experimentation by the University of Arizona.

Biosphere 2 RainforestNot only is it an experiment station, but also a unique spot where visitors can view, on an inside tour, five different ecosystems: rainforest, grasslands,  desert, wetlands and ocean floor.  The rainforest is the largest and tallest biome represented.  It contains a number of different habitats, including a lowland forest, a flood plain, and a cloud forest on top of a sandstone mountain.

Savanna Grasslands is naturally dominated by various types of grasses, but there is a quartzite slope in the area where the stream waterfall is located. The Thornscrub section is the wilderness area. Most of the plants in this region are from the Sonoran area. Vegetation consists mainly of short trees and shrubs with many of them being thorny.

Biosphere 2 DesertThe desert biome has over 125 species of plants and was originally designed to replicate a coastal fog desert such as those found along the western coasts of Baja, California.  This allows the Biosphere 2 desert to co-exist with the other, more moist biomes.

The Marsh biome begins with a fresh water lake with a transitional marsh leading to the Mangrove wetlands.  Here over five hundred large mangrove trees dominate the wetlands, which is colonized by many marsh creatures such as crawfish, snails, sponges, and shrimp.

Biosphere 2 OceanThe ocean biome, designed to simulate a Caribbean reef, contains a coral reef and over one million gallons of salt water. A forty foot cliff overlooks the tropical ocean where waves, temperature and chemical balance are all carefully monitored and controlled by innovative technology. This allows scientists to conduct groundbreaking research. But the ocean biome is very efficient at recycling nutrients, so mainly mechanical means will be used in the future to attempt to control the environment here.

Today their largest project is the Landscape Evolution Observatory where they     are exploring the secrets of earth’s landscape and how it changes due to climate and water movement, as well as modifications through biological systems. Edward Bass continues to be a major supporter and last year donated another $20 million to support operations and research. This is the premiere place for learning about Earth and its place in the Universe…now and in the future. Biosphere 2 is where science lives.

Getting there depends on where you are beginning! If you are in Phoenix, find your way to Biosphere 2 off I-35 exit 185. Continue East of 187 toward Florence where you will turn right or south on Arizona 79.  Turn left on Arizona 77 until you arrive at Oriocle Junction where you turn left on Biosphere Road.  If you are in Tucson, take Arizona 77 north about 24 miles.

Explore A Scenic Masterpiece Grand Canyon National Park

If “a picture is worth a thousand words”, then actually being there must be worth a million. Grand Canyon National Park, with the Colorado River’s wildwater rapids, is astounding beyond the imagination so it’s quite understandable for this scenic masterpiece to be listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Located in the Northwestern corner of Arizona, this massive canyon has been carved over millions upon millions of years. Once this was home to ancient civilizations and in more recent time home to Native American Indian tribes. Still today it is home to five of those tribes: Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, and Paiute.

Hopi legend says that ancestors once lived in caves and tunnels in the Grand Canyon.  This could actually be true! Not far near Peach Springs, Arizona on Route 66 are the Grand Canyon Caverns, 800 acres  of caves and tunnels underground, forming the largest dry caverns in the United States. Entrance today is through an elevator, which descends approximately twenty stories into the earth.  Perhaps the Hopi had a secret entrance.

The air here is pure and dry coming through about ten miles of limestone crevices from the Grand Canyon itself.  When taking a tour there, the guide mentioned that these caverns were designated as a nuclear fallout shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Some supplies still remained at that time…just in case. Sometimes my mind wonders if the whole inner earth looks like Swiss cheese.

Although larger than the mind can comprehend, this is a tranquil place filled with rare plant and animal life. Some of the elk here weigh as much as a thousand pounds so there is frequent warning: Never Approach Wild Animals.

One popular scenic view arises at Pima Point.  From this point, people say they can hear the Colorado River splashing as it echos off the canyon walls about a mile below.

There are many ways to see the canyon for the adventurous.  One is to descend the narrow ledges of the canyon on mule back.  Since the mule is considered to be the most surefooted of animals, many feel this is a safe way for exploration.  Others prefer wild water rafting down the beautiful Colorado River, which is partially responsible for the appearance of the Grand Canyon today.

Geologist John Wesley Powell led the first recorded expedition down the Colorado River the full length of the canyon starting at Green River, Wyoming. This Civil War hero, who lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh, filled diaries recapturing his astounding experiences on that 1869 three month expedition.  Here is an excerpt from Powell’s Canyons of the Colorado, a book written after his river trip:

“The walls now are more than a mile in height … A thousand feet of this is up through granite crags; then steep slopes … rise one above the other to the summit. The gorge is black and narrow below, red and gray and flaring above, with crags … on the walls, which, cut in many places by side canyons, seem to be a vast wilderness of rocks.

That is quite a trip as the canyon is 277 miles in length.  Variations in width make it even more unusual as it is only 600 yards wide at Marble Canyon, while at its widest, it is eighteen miles. The river moves quickly and has lots of rocks along the way so a trip down these rapids is a challenge.  The average depth of the Colorado River is about forty feet so a good idea to wear a lifejacket.

A great place to get an overlook of the canyon is from the Yavapai Observation Station, first located here in 1928. The view of the buttes and spires from this point is picture postcard perfect. What a great place to study the history and changes of the Grand Canyon.  Designed to blend in with the environment, the station was originally built of Ponderosa pine and Kaibab limestone. Here inquiring minds are told the complicated geological story of the formation of the Grand Canyon.

Every view is different at each time of the day. Sunlight as well as moonlight bring various sections to life.  During the busiest season, April – September, private vehicles are not now permitted along the popular West Rim section. Beautiful Maricopa Point on the West Rim is another favorite picture stop.  Also seen in the distance is the Orphan Lode Mine where copper and uranium were extracted during the 1950’s and 60’s.  October seems to be the perfect time to view the canyon at your leisure in your own vehicle. Then it is a tranquil place where you forget about the cares of the world and just relax in the arms of Mother Nature.  While driving some friends through the canyon on my last visit, the tranquility even captured a busy businessman, who never stops all day long. The only sound from the back seat of my car was zzz-zzz-zzz.

Grand Canyon National Park can be easily reached from I-40 exiting at either Williams – Route 64  or Flagstaff – Route 180. Both routes take over an hour to arrive at the South Rim. Pack a picnic lunch and plenty of bottled water to enjoy a relaxing day.

An “Old Soul” Explores Beautiful Red Rock Sedona

Sedona!  Just the word brings to mind beautiful red rock formations surrounded by a high level of spiritual awareness. For those interested in the metaphysical, Sedona, Arizona is the perfect place to explore. This New Age capital of America is nestled in the mouth of beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.

Spectacular views draw people from all over the world to this “red rock country” where they experience the majesty and peace of the natural wonders appearing around every corner of the road. The sandstone formations glow red and even orange, especially at sunrise and sunset here in Sedona.

Bell Rock captures the eye and the heart as it emits an energy that can’t be explained. This is just one of several energy vortexes in and around Sedona. For those not familiar with vortexes, they are created from a spiraling motion around a rotating center, such as water going down the drain or a dust devil in the desert. But here in Sedona, the energy vortex is created by spiraling spiritual energy making it a great place for prayer, meditation and healing. There is no real explanation, it must be experienced…and that is just what I did.

While walking around Bell Rock, which is a two hour trip – at least for me- instead of getting tired, my feet moved faster at the end than they did at the beginning. Just had to keep a piece of the red rock with me -it fell at my feet- and still have it under my car seat today.  Maybe that is how I keep going and going on my Gypsy Road Trips… like the energizer bunny.

As you can imagine, Hollywood also noticed the beauty of this area and over sixty Hollywood productions, mostly Westerns,  have been filmed here. John Ford’s production of Stagecoach rolled into Sedona in 1938 beginning the bonanza of films and stars that would become familiar to the red rock area. Classic greats such as John Wayne, Elvis, Rock Hudson, and Art Carney have enjoyed hanging out in the red rocks while starring in scenes shot here.

Just a short drive south of Sedona,  the Chapel of the Holy Cross provides a spiritual uplift to the trip as well as another gorgeous view of the surrounding area. Built back in 1956,  the chapel rises 250′ out of the red rock and its design was inspired by the Empire State Building. The front of the chapel faces sunset thus illuminating the interior naturally with sunlight.

Cathedral Rock, the landmark of Sedona, provided another relaxing place to walk, but personally didn’t feel the energy surge experienced at Bell Rock. Trails lead to the “saddle points” or gaps in the beautiful red rock configuration. While the trail is exceptionally steep, a breeze is nearly always present due to the air movement through the saddle points.

Stayed on the edge of town in the red rocks at a rustic little place called quite naturally, Red Rock Lodge. Here the owner gave me a tour of her beautiful flower garden and explained a little about the flowers of the region. Arizona Poppy, Indian Paintbrush, and Desert Primrose add beauty and a pleasing aroma to the surrounding mountains. Rates were affordable at this small comfortable lodge while the views were extraordinary.

Couldn’t leave town without getting a psychic reading at a charming place with beads hanging from the doorway, a crystal ball on the table, and cards spread to tell me that I was indeed an “old soul” who had been around for a long, long time. This old-fashioned metaphysical community is the place to immerse yourself in Reiki, acupuncture, aromatherapy, UFOs,  and much more.

Sedona has grown since my last visit, but even today there are few streetlights, no buildings reach over two stories high, and every structure must match the primary colors of the rocks. No Golden Arches for McDonald’s here – arches in Sedona are turquoise! These awe-inspiring red rocks formed in beautiful buttes, spires and canyons capture your attention; however, there is a serenity here among the beauties of nature that draws one back again and again.

The Sedona area is located off I-17 at exit 298. Proceed on Highway 179 which after about 14 miles  will lead you to the Y in the road from which you will be guided to various area attractions.  Grand Canyon is a couple hours north of Sedona, while the intriguing Sonoran Desert lies south. Not many can resist the charm, so plan to spend a day or two in this breathtaking area.

The Town Too Tough To Die Tombstone, AZ

“The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone,” was the advice given to Ed Schieffelin when he headed to the mountains of Arizona to hunt for ore samples.  When Schieffelin filed his first claim after discovering silver, he suitably named his first mine Tombstone, and organized the Tombstone Mining and Milling Company.

If you want an informative trip through Tombstone, Arizona, hop on the guided horse-drawn stagecoach tour. Here you will hear the basic history of the town with lots of humorous stories thrown in. Don’t be surprised if you see a gunfight or stagecoach robbery along the way. Then you can walk or ride to your favorite places throughout the town for a closer look.

The stagecoach is pictured in front of the Crystal Palace Saloon, which was originally built in 1882 but restored in 1963.  Prominent citizens of Tombstone liked to congregate here as the saloon was know for its “Good Whiskey, Tolerable Water, and Best Food in Town” as well as an honest gambling room. Add to that the fact that upstairs were located offices that furnished all the latest news, and you can see why it was such a popular spot. The second floor contained offices of Marshall Virgil Earp – in the front, Dr George Goodfellow, leading surgeon, and Atty George Berry.

Since plants are one of my pleasures, couldn’t help noticing this huge century plant located in a resident’s yard. This plant’s name is derived from the fact that they only bloom once in a long, long time, but not quite a century. Usually they grow for around twenty five years before the plant puts forth its tall wooden seed stalk filled with blooms.  This blooming spike grows so fast that it takes all the nutrients out of the plant causing it to die.  But the seed lives on!  These plants are used for their medicinal properties, fiber, food, and even needles.

As you can imagine this was rough territory with tough, lawless characters calling it home. Being only twenty miles from the Mexican border, a group of bandits called The Cowboys, led by Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers, began rustling cattle from Sonora, Mexico to the fields near Tombstone. That brought lawmen onto the scene in the form of the Earp brothers. The Cowboys were welcome in town since they spent a lot of money there, but shootings often occured. Here you will also find The Hanging Tree, which was used for executions when the gun just wasn’t enough punishment.

Early in 1881 however, one story reports that The Cowboys attempted to rob a stagecoach of $26,000 worth of  silver, and killed two passengers. The events that ensued culminated in the now famous Gunfight at the O K Corral where US Federal Marshall Virgil Earp, his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan, and Doc Holliday shot and killed three of The Cowboys.  They are buried today on Boothill, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Boothill reportedly received its name because so many died violent deaths in that area and were buried with their boots on. Wording on the tombstones tells a lot about the life of those times. Some simply say: MURDERED or HANGED. The tombstone of Lester Moore is one of the most often viewed and remembered on Boothill as it has the epitaph:


The world’s largest rosebush is also in Tombstone so growing conditions must be exceptional. Planted in 1885, this Lady Banksia Rose covers the roof of an inn as well as this terrace. The trunk of the rose bush is twelve feet wide, which you may be able to spot in the shadows. That rose bush must also have been Too Tough To Die.

Since 1880 until the present day, the local publication, The Tombstone Epitaph…The Old West’s most famous newspaper, has kept locals and visitors informed regarding what’s happening in Tombstone. There are now actually two editions: a monthly historical national and a bi-monthly local.  Check out some of their historical issues at The Tombstone Epitaph online.

Even though this two-fisted, trigger-happy boomtown has settled down quite a bit, Tombstone is proud of its Wild West history.  This is a real town with real inhabitants today and in the past.  That is why they are pleased to call it: The Town Too Tough To Die.

Tombstone is located in the southeastern corner of Arizona, just 70 miles from Tucson. Follow I-10 to exit  303 and head southeast on route 80 for about 23 miles. If time permits, head on down to relaxing Bisbee and tour their Queens Copper Mine, one of the richest copper mines in history.

Canyon de Chelly – Home to Navajo Indians

Navajo Blessing
We walk in our moccasins upon the Earth
and beneath the sky
As we travel on life’s path of beauty
We will live a good life and reach old age.

Many American Indians still enjoy life in the Southwest,  and some call Canyon de Chelly (pronounced day Shay) home. Chelly is a slightly modified Navajo word Tseyi, meaning canyon or literally, under the rock.

Located in northeastern Arizona, Canyon de Chelly is completely located within the Navajo nation’s boundaries. Navajo Indians live and work here today among the red rock cliffs with ancient dwellings along their faces and lush valleys below.

Right at the edge of the South Rim parking lot, several wild horses that frequent the area, grazed on the sparse grass. This beautiful scenic drive takes about three hours so be certain that you have plenty of drinking water. There are trails to the bottom but you must be escorted by a guide from the Navajo tribe on all trails except the one leading to the White House Ruins.

One of the spectacular points along the rim trail is Spider Rock, twin sandstone spires with the tallest being 800 feet high. Traditional Navajo believe the taller of the two spires is home to Spider Grandmother. Spider Rock is considered sacred to the Navajo and is associated with Spider Woman, who taught the Navajo how to weave on a loom which Spider Man told them how to make.  Spider Woman also is the enforcer of obedience in children. Part of a Navajo chant heard there still remains in my mind today: With beauty in Nature, I walk.

Another highlight in the area is White House Ruins, which are remains in a sandstone cave of adobe dwellings from a previous culture.  They are believed to have been constructed by Anasazi people “the Ancient Ones”.  There was a time when you could roam up into the cave and walk where the Anasazi walked. But today it is fenced off due to tourists taking bits for souvenirs and thus destroying the historic value of the spot.

At the information center, the Navajo Indians have a beautiful gift shop with handmade Indian crafts. While visiting there talked with Gary Henry and his brother Teddy, Navajo jewelry craftsmen, and their sister Winnie, who leads many of the tours and weaves beautiful blankets.

The beautiful but tough sister, Winnie,  says that weaving is “to weave together the pieces of your own life.” Weaving is her special art given by Spider Woman’s spiritual touch.  Her mother told her, “If you know who you are, where you come from, and where you are going, you will never get lost in this world.” Winnie will tell you that her culture and religion live within her and will never come out.

Gary designed this beautiful two-sided necklace of native stones in a bear claw design – my treasure for this adventure. He grew up in Canyon de Chelly, running up and down the trails as a child. They lived in a hogan, a traditional Navajo dwelling, and their family raised sheep. At that time there was no water or electricity in the canyon, so meals were cooked over a fire, and the evening was spent listening to stories and playing their music.

Canyon de Chelly is a spiritual place where the soul responds to the beauty of nature, which abounds. When we leave, they say Hagona, which means “see you again”. To walk in beauty and die naturally of old age is the Navajo notion of the good life. Hozona h’astleen! May everything go well!

Canyon de Chelly is located in northeastern Arizona.  Take Route 191 to Chinle, Arizona and the Canyon is directly east of town. From the Visitors Center you have a choice of the North Rim Drive or South Rim Drive.  Each drive takes about three hours to complete.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 in Oatman, Arizona

Spectacular Route 66 takes a lot of twists and turns as you travel through the breathtaking mountain vistas from Kingman to Oatman, Arizona.  Around every bend there is another beautiful view and not many cars, so you can move at a leisurely pace and even stop for pictures.

Best place to park is on either edge of this living ghost town and then enjoy the walk down the street. You will find many unique stores along the way such as: New Diggin’s, Classy Ass, or White Buffalo Trading Post.  Today there are only about 100 people that actually reside in the town although in its gold mining days population reached 3500.

“Get your kicks on Route 66” is a familiar saying, but here in Oatman you have to be careful it isn’t a burro kick! Wild burros eating from your pockets or purse make it a challenge just to walk down the streets of Oatman, Arizona. That is the reason nearly every store has available carrots or “burro chow” at a small cost. The burros are descendants of the pack animals used by early miners in the area and turned loose in the 1940’s.  They are today protected by the US Department of the Interior.

An old adobe two story building, Oatman Hotel, is the oldest building in town, having been built in 1902.  Now it is especially remembered as the honeymoon suite of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in 1936.  Often they returned here for some peace and quiet, and Clark liked to play poker with the local miners. Their ghosts are said to frequent the place as witnessed by many guests.

On the weekends, you might be lucky and see a “Wild West” show on the streets. While visiting there, they held up a tour bus (they called it a stage coach) coming to town.   Stopped the bus with gunshots from the middle of the road, then boarded the bus to rob the passengers.  All in fun of course! This was followed by a gunfight in the street.

Lucky to have found a place to step back in history and get the feel of the Old West.  Wonder if my luck would continue in the nearby gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada?  Taking the shortcut over a thirty mile dirt road,  should be there in about an hour.  Hop in Lady Luck, let’s go for a ride!

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